Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Interior Decorating Gone Wild

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2010 at 8:27 pm

While I try to mask my shoe-box sized apartment’s bland white walls with a non-thematic array of street-fair purchased art, framed posters and photographs of my family and friends, I have often day-dreamed about owning a home (one day – in the distant future). These day-dreams involve thoughts of carefully planned-out interior decor – ranging from a modern living room with plush leather chairs and one painted red wall, an ornate Louis XVI-style bedroom, and children’s rooms with pastel-painted walls and matching white furniture.

As interior decorating is a multi-million (perhaps even billion) dollar-a-year industry with the well-to-do filling their luxury condos, apartments and mansions with everything from expensive furniture to priceless art and the highest quality wallpaper, carpet, rugs, etc. and stores like  Home Goods and Target helping us “normal people” personalize our living  quarters, one UK homeowner has taken on the task of decorating her home in a truly unique myriad of styles.

Artist Ann Frith’s Brighton, UK home is flamboyantly decorated with turquoise tiles on the kitchen floor, geometric wallpaper and a lemon-yellow stairwell. As if the bold decor itself wasn’t enough to look at, her walls are covered with the artist’s extensive collection of contemporary art.

Frith remarks,

“I’m really affected by colors, and spend a long time making them work together. Cold blues upset me.”

The homeowner’s living room contains a Mexican mask from Oaxaca, a giant bronze fish by artist Mike Chaikin and a tiger-print rug from Nepal, but that’s not all. The same room contains an oversized Iroko armchair covered in retro fabric, and the wallpaper, reminiscent of 1950s prints, is patterned with vertical lines.

Frith’s husband, Simon Arnold, is a furniture maker. He built the kitchen cabinets and painted them off-white to complement the kitchen’s Spanish mosaic tiles. Upstairs, a red Orla Kiely wallpaper lines the study, and one of the bedrooms is covered with a hummingbird-print wallpaper.

The couple find many of their eclectic pieces while traveling to places like India, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Japan, China and South America, but they also roam local secondhand shops for hidden treasures. Frith tries to buy one artwork per year, purchasing only pieces she “loves.”

Each year the homeowners open their house in May for the Brighton Festival, Artists Open Houses.

Wow… I’d love to see Frith’s creatively-decorated home. I’m sure you could spend as much time looking around in awe as you could browsing priceless paintings at the Met or Tate.

Ikea Brings Contemporary Art to Russia and Eastern Europe

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 at 9:30 pm

The Swedish-gone-global Ikea Retail Company is planning a multi-million dollar project that includes the commission of contemporary artists, like Piotr Uklanski, Jeppe Hein and Jim Lambie, to create works for its colassal Moscow-based development due to open in 2012.

Ikea will roll out mixed-use spaces across Ikea locales in Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union. The massive 850,000 + square foot Mega Teply Stan retail park in Moscow will be the first such space and plans to include shops, restaurants, an ice-rink, and of course, an Ikea furniture store.

Simon Dance, of Simon Dance Design (who has been working with Ikea since 2007) recently discussed the venture in the Art Newspaper,

“The new building will be totally different to what’s there now. The idea is to create a day out, somewhere people want to spend time, especially in Moscow where it takes so long to get anywhere because the traffic is so bad,” says Dance.

He continues, stating the concept of the developments is to “fuse culture, commerce and leisure – and the works of art are a key part of our vision.”

Former Gagosian director Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, who’s the current coordinator of Dasha Zhukova’s Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow and Elliot McDonald, the curator of the Hiscox Collection, have been brought in to advise Ikea on the ambitious project. They are expecting that about four or five works will be commissioned for the Moscow project.

Fixing “The Actor”

In Uncategorized on February 5, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Picasso’s Rose Period painting “The Actor” has hung in the Metropolitan Museum of Art for over half a century. However, after a woman taking an adult education class at the Met accidentally fell into the painting, causing a six-inch tear, experts are trying to determine how to go about fixing the delicate 105-year old painting.  Luckily, the vertical tear runs along the lower-right hand corner of the painting and does not disrupt the picture’s main focal points. Thus, according to a recently released statement, the repair will be “unobtrusive.”

In 2006, billionaire casino owner Stephen A. Wynn elbowed “Le Rêve (“The Dream”), a 1932 Picasso painting depicting a mistress of the painter (see image, below). While Wynn’s blunder produced a sizable hole, the fissure was masterfully repaired, leaving no visible signs of damage.

Apparently, though, repairing a 1904-created Picasso (such as “The Actor”) presents more problems than that of a torn 1932 Picasso because earlier canvases are more delicate, and the oil paint that Picasso used was thinner than the enamel-based kind he later used.

Painted when the artist was just 23-years old, “The Actor” is the largest piece created early in his career, and dealers estimate it is worth over $100 million. Accordingly, experienced art restorers have important decisions to make – as there are many options and a range of materials and instruments that could be used to repair the valuable painting.

Click here to read more about this story (including details about the painting, how restorers sometimes use acupuncture needs to fix damaged paintings, and about further issues plaguing the painting’s restoration).

An Intriguing and Experimental Exhibition to Open in Ireland

In Uncategorized on January 25, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Tomorrow the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMAA) will début “What Happens Next is a Secret,”  an exhibition that seeks to answer and deal with questions and issues about what happens when pieces of art become part of a museum’s collection (and are later shown in various contexts).

The  displayed works will change throughout the captivating exhibition’s reign (through April 18, 2010), with artwork removals generating empty spaces that will call to mind gaps in memory and point to the partially hidden nature of museum collections. Additionally, films from the museum’s collection will be shown in a dedication screening room and strategies (like repositioning works within the gallery) will be used to alter the pace and motion of the exhibition.

A majority of the works in “What Happens Next is a Secret” are from the museum’s collection, while a small number of displayed artwork has been borrowed directly from artists and other collections (including famed conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner‘s Statement 021, on load from the collection of Seth Sieglaub).

The IMMA will not release a list of included works ahead of time, adding to the mystery (and allowing the exhibition to live up to its name of “What Happens Next is a Secret”).

Click here to read more about the exhibition and how artists involved in IMMA’s Artists’ Residency Program will be participating and engaging with the innovative presentation.

Perhaps the Most Interesting Salvador Dalí Exhibition Yet

In Uncategorized on December 22, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Courchevel, a French Alps haven for skiers, isn’t typically associated with the contemporary art world. However, the ski area has recently captivated the art scene and made international headlines. On December 5th, Courchevel took an innovative approach in exhibiting 14 sculptures by Spanish artist Salvador Dalí

Utilizing its reputation as one of the world’s most prestigious winter-resort destinations, Courchevel displayed an open air museum. The Stratton Foundation, the Dali Universe and Bartoux Galleries presented the exhibition which included seven monumental sculptures placed in the heart of Courchevel, and two of the artist’s masterpieces that can admired from the ski run (one of which is positioned at the top of Vizelle, 2,659 meters (8,723.8 feet) above sea-level).

Click here to read more about the exhibition (including the location of all of the exhibit’s sculptures) and the entire article associated with this post.

Click here to check out exhibitions around the world currently displaying the work of  Salvador Dalí.

Click here to see what’s going on in France’s contemporary art scene.

Video Games as Art?

In Uncategorized on December 4, 2009 at 7:03 pm

If you grew up during the ’80s and / or ’90s, you probably spent a good portion of your childhood playing Nintendo (or at least hearing peers talk endlessly about their adventures in Mario and Luigi Land). While the original Nintendo, complete with games containing crudely designed 2D backgrounds and repetitive muzak, could hardly be considered “art” by most – discussion about categorizing video games as art is one that both cultural commentators and video gamers have had for the past three decades.

Mirroring advancements in technology, video game systems and the games themselves have become more visually (and musically) stimulating. Thus, it’s unrealistic (and misleading) to say that the design and creation of video games have nothing to do with art. In fact, video games seem to fit artistic definitions and guidelines quite accurately – as they express their subjects in creative ways that vary from fancifully abstract to three-dimensionally realistic.

 While critics like Jack Knoll disagree with notions that consider video games as art, the debate continues. As a recent article from the Guardian notes,

The fact that a growing number of artists are turning to videogames as a form of expression also hints at the fact that these things are not just daft little diversions with no inherent aesthetic value. The likes of Riley Harmon, Alison Mealey and Wafaa Bilal have all used videogame graphics, interfaces and/or tropes in their work, trading not only on the visual imagery and accepted conventions of games, but also their inherent meanings.

Thus, New York artist Cory Arcangel (who created one of the most famous works of hack art called Super Mario Clouds) is curating a fascinating exhibit at London’s Lisson Gallery. The artist, known for his hacking and subsequent alterations of Nintendo games during the 1990s, has worked with video art and continues to create “videogame art.” He and his contemporaries are pushing for game culture to be included in the realm of contemporary art.

To read more about Arcangel, the video game as art phenomenon, and the entire article associated with this story, click here.

To see Arcangel’s “Super Mario Clouds,” click here.

Tim Burton’s Dreadfully Delightful Display at the MoMA

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Tim Burton is notorious for his creatively grotesque  film characters – which include Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Sweeny Todd, and Batman,  – among many others.  The famed director/ producer/ artist is a fascinating inventor who has spent his film career molding and perfecting obscure ideas, turning them into brilliant movies (his newest one, a colorful and creepy Alice in Wonderland, is set to be released in 2010).  As such, the MoMA is exhibiting over 500 photographs, paintings, doodles, storyboards, stories, sculptures and sketches, dating back to Burton’s days at the California Institute of Art in its aptly named exhibition “Tim Burton.”


Tim Burton. Untitled (The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories). Image from the MoMA

The exhibition opens November 22nd, and the honored artist reveals some information about one of his paintings that will be on display.  A recent article from NY Magazine states,

…he says his acrylic painting The Green Man (1996–1998) is a kind of self-portrait and memento mori. It’s about “a feeling of being in a pub in England, thinking about my grandmother who had died, and feeling the connections she had with me.” The sharp edges of the triangular blue mask invoke her death in a traumatic accident. The stitching all over the man’s face is “a symbol for the internal, an indicator of a person’s different sides and struggle to keep it together.” … “I was depressed and disconnected. I couldn’t feel my hands. I bought some striped socks and suddenly felt very connected to the Earth again.” Really? Striped socks? “I have strange things happen to me.” Which will come as a surprise to exactly no one.

Black Void at the Tate Modern

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2009 at 4:39 pm

London’s Tate Modern has unveiled Miroslaw Balka’s “How It Is,” a sculpture that may frighten visitors who are afraid of the dark. To view the sculpture in its intirety, museum visitors walk up a ramp to the ominous steel chamber. Upon entering the sculpture, guests will enter a black void. Balka’s installation has created some health and safety concerns for the museum, and Tate Modern guards will regularly control the structure with lighted torches.

Balka's "How It Is"

Balka's "How It Is"

The artist’s work has various connotations, alluding to the biblical Plague of Darkness, black holes in space and images of hell. Likewise, those who view (and enter) the sculpture will have different reactions.

As Balka States in an article from the Guardian, “Each one of us will approach this work and experience it very differently,” she said. “For some it may be an incredibly sombre experience, for most it will be unnerving. For others there will be something quite comforting about going into a space like this full of strangers, yet being aware of each other.”

Balka has been working on the piece, from concept to installation, for a year. Asked what his first reaction on walking into the completed container was, he said: “Whoa. It works.”

Bad Taste

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Ausgestopftes Meerschweinchen auf Rollbrett. Entwurf: Andi Domke, Schweiz, 2009.
An interesting show opened on July 16 (and will be up until January 11, 2010) at the Museum der Dinge in Berlin.  Evil Things. An Encyclopedia of Bad Taste “uses a one hundred year-old system to categorise violations of taste, where things are not just submitted to a judgement of taste, but also to ethical valuation of their production, construction and appearance.  Today’s judgement is not just based on aesthetic but also on moral values, when categories of “good” and “bad” (or evil) are applied. The exhibition will juxtapose historic “home horrors” to contemporary design objects and mass production. Thus a situation will be created, that raises questions about our system of values of things”. examines the exhibition’s origins through the eyes of Gustav E. Pazaurek, art historian and museum director who opened his original “Cabinet of Bad Taste” in 1909.  Read the article here.

useone hundred year-old system to categorise violations of taste, where things are not just submitted to a judgement of taste, but also to ethical valuation of their production, construction and appearance.
Today’s judgement is not just based on aesthetic but also on moral values, when categories of “good” and “bad” (or evil) are applied. The exhibition will juxtapose historic “home horrors” to contemporary design objects and mass production. Thus a situation will be created, that raises questions about our system of values of thingsuses a one hundred year-old system to categorise violations of taste, where things are not just submitted to a judgement of taste, but also to ethical valuation of their production, construction and appearance.  Today’s judgement is not just based on aesthetic but also on moral values, when categories of “good” and “bad” (or evil) are applied. The exhibition will juxtapose historic “home horrors” to contemporary design objects and mass production. Thus a situation will be created, that raises questions about our system of values of things


In Uncategorized on September 17, 2009 at 8:40 pm

I’ve been carrying this incredible book around with me for many years with every apartment move I make. I read it all the way through once, years ago, and I always seem to go back to it. Written with alphabetically-themed chapters, it’s a great book to pick up for an hour if you want to feel intelligent and theoretical. It’s like a really enriching old friend – if that friend of yours happens to be a really smart and famous art historian.

According to an Amazon review:

Although it is more than sixty years since Georges Bataille undertook his philosophical development of the term informe, only in recent years has the idea of the “formless” been deployed in the theorizing and reconfiguring of twentieth-century art. In Formless: A User’s Guide, Yve-Alain Bois and Rosalind Krauss present a rich and compelling panorama of the formless. They chart its persistence within a history of modernism that has always repressed it in the interest of privileging formal mastery, and they assess its destiny within current artistic production. In the domain of practice, they analyze it as an operational tool, the structural cunning of which has repeatedly been suppressed in the service of a thematics of art. Neither theme nor form, formless is, as Bataille himself expressed it, a “job.” The job of Formless: A User’s Guide is to explore the power of the informe. A stunning new map of twentieth-century art emerges from this reconceptualization and from the brilliantly original analyses of the work of Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Lucio Fontana, Cindy Sherman, Claes Oldenburg, Jean Dubuffet, Robert Smithson, and Gordon Matta-Clark, among others.